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September 11, 2006
Today's sponsor: Penchecks, Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Penchecks, Inc.

The National Registry has arrived!

It is a web-based service designed to reunite plan participants with their unclaimed retirement benefits. Since going live on May 27, 2005, over 10,000 participant names with unclaimed pension benefits have already been registered. Plan Administrators and IRA custodians may register their missing participants in the National Registry’s database for a nominal fee. Participants are able to check the database online. If a match is found, contact information is provided. There is no charge to individual participants to use the service to search for unclaimed retirement benefits that are owed to them. The National Registry facilitates Win-Win situations - Plan Sponsors alleviate themselves of reporting burden and fiduciary responsibility when lost participants claim their money and Former Plan Participants end up with more money!

All Automatic/Default/Missing Participant IRAs established through PenChecks, Inc. are automatically included in the National Registry database at no additional cost.

For more information, click on the link above or call (877) 462-2745.


(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Text: DOL Request for Comments on Possible Changes to Rules for Independent Public Accountants Retained by Plans (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The purpose of this notice is to obtain information to assist the Department of Labor in evaluating whether and to what extent Interpretive Bulletin 75–9 provides adequate guidance to meet the needs of plan administrators, other plan fiduciaries, participants and beneficiaries, accountants, and other affected parties on when a qualified public accountant is independent." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

Department of Labor Seeking Comment on Auditor Independence Issues Related to ERISA Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting help to update its guidance on the independence of accountants who audit employee benefit plans. The request for information (RFI) will be published September 11 in The Federal Register." (CFO.com)

IRS Composite Corporate Bond Rate Table Updated for September 2006
Corporate Bond Weighted Average Interest Rate = 5.78 for September 2006 (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: 401(k) Provisions of Pension Protection Act of 2006
Excerpt: "This Bulletin gives you [Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen's] thoughts on the most important provisions affecting 401(k) and other participant-directed plans. Then, [Reish Luftman gives] examples of unresolved issues that arise as a result of some conceptual and drafting errors." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

Consultants Say Employers Are Struggling with Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Pension advisers are helping employers adapt to new conditions and avoid violating regulatory requirements. After the U.S. Labor Department's Inspector General reported that 8 million workers with $334 billion in savings had been subjected to changes that diminished their pensions, a congressional report steamed: 'Companies should not be able to pull the rug out from under their employees...'" (The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: Congress Overhauls Retirement Plan Rules with Sweeping Changes for 401(k)s (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "This Legislative Update focuses on several aspects of the PPA affecting defined contributions plans, such as 401(k) plans." (Lockton Benefit Group)

New Pension Bill Adds to Employer Compliance Burden
Excerpt: "Financial services firms will face new compliance challenges in the coming months as they start offering investment advice to 401(k) plan participants as a result of legislation that passed last month. . . . Previously, firms could offer an independent third party's advice, but now they can offer that advice themselves. While that may save the firms some money, it isn't without a price." (CCH Wall Street, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services)

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee! DC Plans Are Not Working
Excerpt: "A piece from Barclays Global Investors recognizes that defined contribution plans are not working, and suggests how to fix them. [See item number 6 in the newsletter.]" (Cypen & Cypen)

A Different Strategy for Pensions
Excerpt: "The pension law that Congress just approved, along with coming accounting changes, will greatly reduce the ability of companies to smooth their pension numbers. So if a company decides to use an aggressive, high-volatility pension strategy in the future, investors will be able to see it and may well shun the company's shares." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

PBGC Report Says New Pension Law Provides a Funding Break
Excerpt: "In 2007 alone, required pension contributions will be $50 billion lower than if the new law had not been enacted, according to the analysis, which was obtained by the Dow Jones Newswires from the PBGC through a Freedom of Information Act request." (AP via HoustonChronicle.com)

What's Next for the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System?
Excerpt: "The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System needs large infusions of cash. That need will require tough choices and heavy political lifting. And it will require today's elected officials to show some will because the political payoff for them will be almost nil, and the effects of their decisions won't be felt until most of them are long gone." (The Lawrence Journal-World)

Overview: Court Ruling that IBM's Cash Balance Plan Is Not Age-Discriminatory
Excerpt: "The court . . . noted that accruals under a traditional defined benefit plan are back-loaded and favor older workers, which is not true of cash balance plans, but 'removing a feature that gives extra benefits to the old differs from discriminating against them.'" (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Overview: PBGC Explains Impact of PPA Changes on Reporting and Disclosure
Excerpt: "The PBGC has issued guidance in the form of a Technical Update explaining the impact of Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA, P.L. 109-280) changes affecting the variable rate premium on reporting and disclosure requirements." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

Overview: Effect of UPIA on Marital Deduction Trust As Beneficiary of IRA or Qualified Plan
Excerpt: "[Rev. Rul. 2006-261] addresses three different factual situations involving the potential application of [Uniform Principal and Income Act] §409 when a 'marital trust' (the ruling's term for a QTIP trust) is named as the beneficiary of the decedent's 'IRA or other defined contribution plan.'" (BNA Tax Management)

Judge Throws Out Spousal Waiver of Benefits in Court Action
Excerpt: "A federal judge in New York has agreed with a woman who claimed that a form indicating her consent to her late husband's distribution election was never properly notarized and therefore invalid." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Commentary on Managing the Pension Yield Curve Risk
Excerpt: "'A Different Strategy on Pensions' by New York Times reporter Mary Williams Walsh (September 9, 2006) showcases International Paper Company for its use of swaps as a way to hedge interest rate risk." (Pension Risk Matters)

Opinion: Scrap the Retirement Concept and Plan Smartly, Says John F. Wasik
Excerpt: "The concept of retirement is outdated and due for a makeover. What we need to save for is a Transitional Action Plan, or TAP." (Bloomberg News)

EPI Issue Guide on Retirement Security -- Revised September 2006 (PDF)
31 pages. The guide includes: General Information on Pensions and Retirement Security; Key Tables and Charts; Key EPI Publications; and, Other Key Resources. (Economic Policy Institute)

PPA Fills Plan Sponsors' Calendars with Deadlines
Excerpt: "The recently passed sweeping pension reform bill . . . included a variety of deadlines for making plan changes, permitting certain plan services, or making certain legal protections available . . . ." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Department of Labor Seeking Comment on Auditor Independence Issues Related to ERISA Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting help to update its guidance on the independence of accountants who audit employee benefit plans. The request for information (RFI) will be published September 11 in The Federal Register." (CFO.com)

ERISA Requires Specific Retirement Age for Cash Balance Plans, According to Court
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Tuesday that PriceWaterhouseCoopers' cash balance plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) because it defined 'normal retirement age' as years of service rather than a specific age." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

J. Barry Griswell: Rethinking Retirement and Pensions
Excerpt: "Q. Are defined-benefit plans becoming obsolete? A. I personally believe that over the long haul it is going to be very difficult for American companies to compete in a global economy if we are the only ones who are providing the kind of rich benefits we have offered in the past. I believe that the D.B.(k) may certainly become a more popular option where you still have a defined benefit but at a lower level and you have a robust 401 (k) or defined-contribution plan on top of it." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview of Landmark Pension Reform Signed into Law
Excerpt: "The new law will affect plan sponsors differently, depending on their plan design and demographics, funded status and other factors. For some sponsors, annual contributions may be much higher and/or much more volatile from year to year. Some sponsors may not be able to increase benefits, pay lump sum distributions or continue benefit accruals under their plans. For others, the changes may be more moderate." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Bush Wants to Renew Social Security Reform Push After November Elections
Excerpt: "Bush was forced to abandoned his 2005 push to add private accounts to the retirement program, in part because of concerns among Republicans that the unpopular plan would jeopardize their chances in this year's elections." (Reuters via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Court Awards Penalties for Missing Piece of SPD
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has awarded statutory penalties to a long-term disability (LTD) plan participant who requested a summary plan description (SPD) and failed to receive a part of it." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: SEC Adoption of New Rules for Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure (PDF)
13 pages. (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Gearing Up for the New Executive Compensation Disclosure Requirements (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "Although the final rules have been adopted largely in the proposed form, the SEC did make several significant changes, such as the disclosure relating to option grant practices and revisions to the proposed requirement to disclose the compensation of up to three nonexecutive employees who earn in excess of any of the named executive officers." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Overview: New SEC Rules Revise Form 8-K Disclosure of Executive Compensation Arrangements
Excerpt: "The new rules eliminate employment compensation arrangements from the scope of Item 1.01 and expand Item 5.02 to cover only those compensatory arrangements with executive officers and directors that are 'unquestionably or presumptively material.' The revised filings under Item 5.02 must still be disclosed within four business days of the triggering event." (BNA Tax Management)

Commentary: EEOC and Restrictive Severance Agreements
Excerpt: "[T]he EEOC has strongly signaled that it will not tolerate employers utilizing restrictive severance agreements to limit employee rights to file charges of discrimination, or their rights to pursue already-filed charges of discrimination, with the EEOC . . . ." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Aging Workforce Summit
in Illinois on October 26, 2006
presented by PME Enterprises

Health Risk Assessment--A New Tool for Lowering Your Claim Costs
Nationwide on September 13, 2006
presented by MediKeeper

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Idaho on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Carolina on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Wyoming on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Colorado on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Utah on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Carolina on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Georgia on September 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Dakota on September 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Minimize HEDIS Anxiety
in California on October 5, 2006
presented by DST Health Solutions

Symposium on Self-Directed IRAs, land trusts, non-recourse lending & more
in Texas on September 13, 2006
presented by PENSCO Trust Company


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Millions of U.S. Women May Run Out of Retirement Savings
(Society of Actuaries)

Vast Majority Say the Government Should Take Action to Ensure Americans Have Enough to Live on in Retirement
(Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Defined Contribution Administrator
for Benefit Associates Inc.
in CA

Employee Benefits Administration
for Primary Consulting, Inc.
in ANY STATE

Retirement Plan Service Associate
for Newton One Advisors
in DE

Assistant Benefits Manager
for Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc.
in PA

Director of Communications
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Operations Specialist
for The Newport Group
in FL

Client Relationship Representative
for The Online 401(k)
in CA

Pension Administrator
for Corporate Compensation Advisors, Ltd.
in AZ

Senior Plan Administrator
for The Allocation Company, Inc.
in TX

Client Relations Assistant
for The Allocation Company, Inc.
in TX

Manager - Plan Administration
for Vanguard
in PA




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